Clive Ratten, managing director of the Business Travel Association, said: "The more people rely on virtual solutions, the more they realize they don't have the whole answer." "The energy of meeting in person is completely different. And there are whole categories that can't be done virtually or remotely.
However, Ratten admits that we don't see a return to where we were before. "There has been a change in the decision-making process," he said. "Companies understand the importance of virtual meetings, but they are closely examining the profitability of travel, both in terms of financial impact and sustainability."
This thesis is supported by research from SAP Concur, a leader in travel and expense management. Almost 40% of business travelers in 25 international markets said they want to travel more. Although the study found that 82% of companies have returned to pre-pandemic travel levels, their approach has changed.
Charlie Sultan, president of Concur Travel, says companies are more concentrated. "We will look at a hybrid approach. "Maybe the manager visits the client in person once a year and has other meetings virtually." "And they can send multiple managers to a meeting, just send one and the others will be called."
For travelers, Wratten believes short trips are becoming rarer. "It must provide a lot of visibility to make the trip worthwhile." Business travelers will spend a lot of time with one client or meet with multiple clients on a single trip. "We're also seeing more employers allowing their employees to extend their commutes to get personal time." He says that business and leisure trips – or “leisure” trips – are becoming more common.